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Jun 11

X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #29-33

Posted on Saturday, June 11, 2022 by Paul in x-axis

“X-Men Green II”
Writers: Karla Pacheco (#29-32) and Steve Orlando (#33)
Artist: Emilio Laiso
Colourist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Editor: Lauren Amaro

Apparently the thinking that everything should have a fresh #1 at the first opportunity doesn’t apply to Infinity Comics. I know it doesn’t really matter, but I rather like that. This is the second arc for Nature Girl’s “X-Men Green” team, who were introduced in a storyline written by Gerry Duggan earlier in the series. Duggan doesn’t return for this arc, but artist Emilio Laiso does, joined this time by Karla Pacheco… except for the final issue, which for some reason is credited solely to Steve Orlando. That’s weird, isn’t it? You’d figure that at the very least there’d be elements of the original plot being used. Hmm.

So. The original X-Men Green arc was a little ambivalent about Nature Girl’s group. On the other hand, Nature Girl was written as so far over the top – not just taking on the fossil fuel industry but killing shopkeepers over plastic bags – as to be a fanatic, and her group is rounded out by Sauron, who is a maniac, and Curse, who is just there to vent her urge to cause trouble. On the other hand, as soon as the story moved away on to more conventional eco-villains, it played her as much more sympathetic. This didn’t feel like nuance so much as a bit of a split personality in the story.

Have these problems been solved? Well, despite being only five issues (which isn’t that much in Infinity Comic terms), this is quite an episodic arc. Issue #29 kicks off with the dysfunctional team stealing a boat so that they can stop an illegal racket in taking tourists to harpoon whales. Pyro is apparently sending them leads for this stuff, which seems unwise given the likelihood of Nature Girl killing the people involved – but at the same time it feels a bit small scale for a group that truly wants to save the planet. And again, there’s a definite sense that only Nature Girl is really motivated by the eco-angle here anyway. Maybe you could read Curse as compelled to stress the negative (because her powers cause her pain when she tries to do positive things), and so looking for an outlet that lets her work around the rules. But that’s not really on the page.

This little incident attracts the attention of Namor the Sub-Mariner, who actually does deal in saving the seas on a global scale, and is thoroughly unimpressed. That’s the majority of issue #30, where the angle is pretty clear: Namor is in one of his relatively sensible moods, he’s completely on side with trying to help the sea creatures, but he’s under no illusion that X-Men Green are anything other than a nuisance and a liability. And nothing in the issue really cuts against that. But since all Namor cares about is getting rid of them, he encourages them to sod off and annoy some poachers instead.

What that leads to, of course, is an altercation with the Black Panther in issue #31. He was busily taking down the poachers anyway – more because they were involved in a bunch of other criminal activity as well – and he gives X-Men Green another lecture about why they should give up and leave this to the grown-ups. Issue #32 brings us to Hordeculture, of all people, who kind of kill time for an issue before giving Nature Girl’s stick back to her. For some reason that prompts her to transform even further into some kind of vengeful nature spirit.

All this seems to be setting up the idea that Hordeculture are manipulating her in some way – or at least that they see some kind of advantage in making sure that her transformation runs its course. Issue #33, which is the Steve Orlando issue, does seem to veer off in a different direction. Not in a wildly obvious way, but Hordeculture drop out of the picture entirely. Instead, we get X-Men Green back to what they were doing in part 1, except on a larger scale and more publicly. The arc ends with them publicly declaring themselves as the X-Men, and the real X-Men deciding that they’re probably going to have to do something about this.

As with the first arc, it looks very good. Lasio has a good grasp of the vertical scrolling format, he’s good with personality, and his redesigns of Nature Girl have been appropriately creepy. I like the sense of the different locations in the world tour, as well. But it doesn’t feel like it really heads anywhere, except in the sense of Nature Girl’s mental state deteriorating a bit further from start to end. The main function of the Black Panther and Namor segments seems to be to cast the whole thing as futile and self-destructive; otherwise, they don’t really add a bit deal. The Hordeculture issue, with hindsight, just seems like a detour. Perhaps they did change plans somewhere along the way and the original ending would have tied this all together more effectively.

These stories seem to have a clearer idea of how they feel about X-Men Green as a concept, but don’t really figure out how to turn that into a direction.

Bring on the comments

  1. Si says:

    There’s a good story to be told somewhere in there, but what we got was an inscrutable protagonist and two comedy relief characters banging on about their sailor costumes.

    The first story, which I loved, was linear and complex, with Wolverine as counterpoint, enforcing that no, they might have noble goals but these kids are not the good guys, and this isn’t going to end well for anyone. Curse and Sauron were comedic, but it was black comedy.

    This series has a guest star of the week popping up to be sympathetic to nature but also to highlight the team’s misguided path, while Curse and Sauron go “wakawakawaka!”. And then it ends, unresolved.

    I fear that one meme about not wanting to cure cancer has put Sauron in the same “joke character” basket as Mojo. He’s a murdererous vampire, and Namor and Black Panther are just letting him go with those other cheeky kids?

  2. Luis Dantas says:

    Has Sauron changed so much?

    He used to be a power draining parasyte who changed back to human form unless he could feed from the lifeforce of mutants very often. That was a key element of each of his first three storylines.

    Are we to assume that he is feeding off Curse and Nature Girl off-panel? Or perhaps that for some reason his hunger is no longer the behavior-affecting urge that it once appeared to be?

  3. The Other Michael says:

    I can’t even remember the last time Sauron reverted back to human form.
    Certainly, he seems to have drifted pretty far from his original premise over the years.
    Honestly, the way he’s handled in this storyline doesn’t exactly help to reinforce or rehabilitate his image as a serious threat.

  4. Jenny says:

    I suppose I’m at least glad this run is depicting Nature Girl as an outright villain. The first run always felt like it couldn’t decide whether or not I should feel sympathetic for the girl who murdered a man just because some random-ass turtle in the Pacific Ocean choked to death on a bag used by a store he works at that he didn’t even make himself.

  5. Ceries says:

    I feel like the Unlimited Comics have been showing some truly bizarre environmental ethics for the X-men. The approach seems to be…that mutants don’t pollute? Despite, canonically, controlling the largest corporate empire on the planet? And the mutants talk down to and judge the humans for polluting, which they, the superior race, don’t do?

    Like, this is just ecofascism at this point, right? Blaming all that’s wrong with the world on the inferior race in their vast and swarming numbers.

  6. neutrino says:

    It doesn’t make sense, since Krakoa emitted toxins that mutated sea life. There’s also hints that Mysterium (stripmined from heaven)has bad effects on the universe.

  7. Jenny says:

    The thing is you could have that and Nature Girl being the fanatic she’s depicted as, but the first arc can’t decide if she’s an outright villain or someone sympathetic. Which I guess makes this a step in the right direction, but only just.

  8. wwk5d says:

    I suppose Hordeculture could be a valid retcon down the line, to explain away Nature Girl’s behavior (they brainwashed her or something off-screen), because yeah, she basically killed someone and isn’t being held accountable for it so far…

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